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Let it rest: Sleep and health as positive correlates of forgiveness of others and self-forgiveness

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Objective: The present study examined forgiveness of others, self-forgiveness, sleep, and health in a nationally representative sample of United States adults. It was hypothesised that sleep would mediate the associations of forgiveness of others and self-forgiveness with health. Design: A nationally representative survey of 1,423 United States adults. Main Outcome Measures: Measures included forgiveness of others, self-forgiveness, sleep quantity, sleep quality, psychological distress, life satisfaction, and self-rated physical health. Results: Forgiveness of others (β = .20, p < .001) and self-forgiveness (β = .11, p < .01) were associated with sleep and forgiveness of others (β = .24, p < .001) and self-forgiveness (β = .27, p < .001) were associated with health. Sleep was associated with health (β = .45, p < .001) and also acted as a mediator of the associations of forgiveness of others (β = .09, p < .01) and self-forgiveness (β = .05, p < .01) with health. Conclusions: Forgiveness of others and self-forgiveness may attenuate emotions such as anger, regret, and rumination and provide a buffer between one’s own and others’ offenses occurring during the day and offer a restful mental state that supports sound sleep which, in turn, is associated with better health.

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... I accepted earlier that forgiveness is clearly an adaptive response to reoccurring (and indeed predictable) social transgressions, and thus is likely to confer fitness benefits on hyper-social species that are capable of practicing it. There is, moreover, little doubt that forgiveness often confers immediate benefits (especially to mental health) on its practitioners (Rasmussen, Stackhouse, Boon, Comstock, and Ross, 2019;Toussaint, Gall, Cheadle, and Williams, 2020). Nevertheless, it can fail of its promise (there are very few infallible adaptations). ...
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The aim of the study was to analyze the relationships between the propensity to forgive and life satisfaction in different age groups. Polish versions of the Heartland Forgiveness Scale (adapted by Kaleta,Mróz, and Guzewicz, 2016) and of The Satisfaction with Life Scale by Diener et al. (SWLS, 1985) adapted by Juczyński (2012), were used. The sample consisted of 436 individuals aged 19–67. The analyses were performed separately for all age groups. Positive and negative dimensions of forgiveness of self, of others, and of situations beyond anyone's control were considered. The results revealed relationships between different aspects of the disposition to forgive and life satisfaction across the entire sample. In addition, significant positive correlations between positive and negative aspects of forgiveness and life satisfaction were observed in individuals aged 19–30 and 41–50. On the other hand, in the group of respondents aged 31–40 a significant positive relationship between reduced unforgiveness and satisfaction with life, whereas in the group aged 50 and over, between positive forgiveness and life satisfaction, were revealed.
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In this chapter, we present a stress-and-coping model of self-forgiveness and health. Three propositions are built from the seminal transactional model of stress and coping and the stress-and-coping model of forgiveness. The three propositions of the stress-and-coping model of self-forgiveness include: (1) self-condemnation is stressful; (2) self-forgiveness can be used to cope with the stressful effects of self-condemnation; and (3) self-forgiveness is related to health. Studies bearing on these propositions are briefly reviewed. Research is rapidly growing and supportive of the proposition that self-forgiveness is related to health, but studies examining the stressfulness of unforgiveness and the efficacy of self-forgiveness as a coping mechanism for self-condemnation are needed. There are countless applications of self-forgiveness in the promotion of health and wellness, and the relevance of self-forgiveness to students, interpersonal relationships, and workers is highlighted.
Chapter
Significant research has assessed associations of forgiveness and related constructs to health. Whereas forgiveness is letting go of negative and embracing of positive thoughts and behaviors, unforgivingness has been conceptualized as a response toward a transgressor consisting of multiple negative emotions. Research has shown that various measures of health including self-rated physical health, physical health symptoms and somatic symptoms, and cumulative health outcomes are associated with forgivingness and unforgivingness. Evidence suggests that among healthy adults, forgivingness of others and the self is associated with better physical health and unforgivingness of others is associated with poorer health. Theoretical foundations, limitations, and implications of this research are discussed.
Chapter
Mounting scientific evidence indicates that positive psychological states are reflected in biological processes, objective physical health, and mortality. This chapter examines the mechanisms through which positive psychological states influence physical health outcomes, focusing on biological processes. To that end, it first reviews the literature on the effect of positive psychological states on neuroendocrine and immune system function with a focus on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) and inflammatory processes. Second, it describes a conceptual model of "enhanced allostasis" as a mechanism linking positive psychological states with physical health. Finally, it identifies questions that remain unanswered and outlines testable hypotheses guided by both existing literature and the enhanced allostasis model.
Article
Few psychological investigators have empirically defined forgiveness, although many theoretical and case study discussions exist. Two emergent views--forgiveness as unidimensional or as multidimensional--were considered by conducting a dimensional factor analysis and then relating the factors to religious variables. Over 1000 respondents, chosen by stratified random sampling, were administered a Gallup poll questionnaire. Based on 25 forgiveness item responses, four primary factors were found: Forgiving Motive, Religious Response, Forgiving Pro-Action, and Hostility. A higher-order forgiveness factor also was extracted; thus forgiveness may be viewed as a single factor. However, forgiveness more accurately is best measured as a multifactorial concept, especially in the investigation of religion. Consistent with traditional Christian teachings, Protestants, Catholics, evangelicals, and the more personally religious generally reported more forgiving responses than Jewish, no/other religious preference, non-evangelical, and less personally religious respondents. Implications for theoretical models of forgiveness also are noted.
Article
Emotions are biologically-based responses that help an organism meet challenges and opportunities, and involve changes in subjective experience, behavior, and physiology. Emotions arise when something important to us is at stake. Although many factors have been associated with healthy emotional regulation, the role of sleep in this process has been largely ignored. Recent studies, however, have begun to delineate how sleep critically affects emotional functioning. Nighttime sleep affects daytime mood, emotional reactivity and the capacity to regulate positive and negative emotions; conversely, daytime experiences affect sleep. Hence, there is a complex interplay between sleep and emotional regulation. The objective of this article is to examine this interplay in adults. This objective is addressed by utilizing a framework that identifies key aspects of the relationship between sleep and emotion. We propose that the connectivity between the emotional centers of the brain - the prefontal cortex and the amygdala - is in part dependent on the homeostatic sleep system such that connectivity between these brain networks is higher when rested and lower when sleep deprived. High connectivity drives more efficient executive functioning, while a disconnect leads to poor executive functioning capacity including emotional reactivity and impulsivity. The cognitive effects of the homeostatic system are couple with the mood regulation effects of the circadian system together dictating the degree to which one experiences emotional regulation or dysregulation. Further, the affective brain systems of individuals with clinical symptomology and/or pathology are suggested to be more vulnerable to homeostatic pressure and circadian lows or misalignment resulting in increased affective clinical symptomology. We review empirical evidence that supports this framework and explore the implications of this framework. Finally, we describe future directions for this type of work.
Article
To examine risk and resilience factors that affect health, lifetime stress exposure histories, dispositional forgiveness levels, and mental and physical health were assessed in 148 young adults. Greater lifetime stress severity and lower levels of forgiveness each uniquely predicted worse mental and physical health. Analyses also revealed a graded Stress × Forgiveness interaction effect, wherein associations between stress and mental health were weaker for persons exhibiting more forgiveness. These data are the first to elucidate the interactive effects of cumulative stress severity and forgiveness on health, and suggest that developing a more forgiving coping style may help minimize stress-related disorders.
Article
Objective: This study examined the prospective association between unforgiveness and self-reported physical health and potential positive psychological mediators of this association. Design: Participants were a national sample of 1024 USA's adults of ages 66 years and older. Data were collected at two time points separated by three years. Main Outcome Measures: Measures of trait unforgiveness, self-rated physical health, socio-demographics, health behaviours and positive psychological traits (e.g. life satisfaction, self-esteem) were included in a comprehensive survey known as the 'Religion, Aging, and Health Survey.' Results: The results indicated that unforgiveness was prospectively associated with declines in self-reported physical health three years later, and poor initial self-reported health status did not predict increases in unforgiveness across time. Furthermore, the prospective association of unforgiveness with self-reported health was mediated by a latent positive psychological traits variable. Conclusion: These results confirm cross-sectional findings suggesting that unforgiveness is related to health. The present study also suggests that unforgiveness has a prospective, but not reciprocal, association with self-reported physical health. Unforgiveness may have its association with self-reported physical health through its interruption of other positive traits that typically confer health benefits.
Article
A method of sample selection for household telephone interviewing via random digit dialing is developed which significantly reduces the cost of such surveys as compared to dialing numbers completely at random. The sampling is carried out through a two-stage design and has the unusual feature that although all units have the same probability of selection, it is not necessary to know the probabilities of selection of the first-stage or the second-stage units. Simple random sampling of possible telephone numbers, within existing telephone exchanges, is inefficient because only about 20 percent of these numbers are actually telephone numbers assigned to households. The method of selection proposed reduces the proportion of unused numbers sharply.
Article
Progress in studying the relationship between religion and health has been hampered by the absence of an adequate measure of religiousness and spirituality. This article reports on the conceptual and empirical development of an instrument to measure religiousness and spirituality, intended explicitly for studies of health. It is multidimensional to allow investigation of multiple possible mechanisms of effect, brief enough to be included in clinical or epidemiological surveys, inclusive of both traditional religiousness and noninstitutionally based spirituality, and appropriate for diverse JudeoChristian populations. The measure may be particularly useful for studies of health in elderly populations in which religious involvement is higher. The measure was tested in the nationally representative 1998 General Social Survey (N=1,445). Nine dimensions have indices with moderate-to-good internal consistency, and there are three single-item domains. Analysis by age and sex shows that elderly respondents report higher levels of religiousness in virtually every domain of the measure. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Argues that the empirical literature has not clearly defined the functioning of the self within religious persons and that a controversy exists within the religious community over how to integrate biblical beliefs about sin with psychological notions associating positive self-regard with mental health. In 2 studies, with a total of 421 undergraduates, M. Rosenberg's (1965) Self-Esteem Scale, the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventories, and the Shostrom Self-Acceptance subscale of the Personal Orientation Inventory were administered, along with G. W. Allport and J. M. Ross's (see PA, Vol 41:7221) scales of religiosity, C. Batson and W. L. Ventis's (1982) internal, external, and interactional indices of religiosity, and items assessing beliefs in the concepts of sin, grace, and forgiveness. Data suggest that the wider social controversy is useful in clarifying the empirical problem and that the languages of sin and of self-esteem are at least partially incompatible. Operationalization of religiosity was generally important in defining the nature of religiosity relationships with self-esteem; more particularly, a sensitivity to the humanistic language of the self-esteem measures and to the guilt dimensions of orthodox views was useful in demonstrating positive associations between self-esteem and a number of the religiosity measures, including those relating to sin. (28 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Forgiveness is proposed to be an important pathway through which the effects of religion on health are mediated. Three separate studies were conducted to examine this hypothesis. In Study 1, older adults (n = 605) completed measures of forgiveness, religiosity, and health. Feeling forgiven by God fully mediated associations between frequency of attendance, frequency of prayer, and belief in a watchful God with successful aging. Self-forgiveness and forgiveness of others partially mediated the religion–health relationships. In Study 2, 253 older adults completed measures of trait forgiveness, religiosity, and health. Trait forgiveness fully mediated associations between prayer and intrinsic religiosity with illness symptoms and 5 dimensions of successful aging. In Study 3, 80 middle-aged men and women completed state and trait forgiveness measures, as well as religiosity and health measures. State forgiveness fully mediated the relationships between existential well-being and both symptoms and medications, and trait forgiveness fully mediated the relationship between religious well-being and both intrinsic religiosity and quality of sleep. State forgiveness partially mediated the relationships between spirituality and both sleep and depression. Within adults, unselected with regard to religious affiliations or beliefs, a variety of religious variables, health outcomes, and forgiveness measures were interrelated. In the majority of cases, forgiveness either partially or fully mediated the religion–health relationships. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Developed scales to measure forgiveness of others (FOO) and forgiveness of self (FOS) as part of an inventory to sample personality disorders. Based on the responses of 237 outpatient counseling clients, these scales have adequate internal consistency reliabilities and correlate with each other only .37. This suggests that although the scales are somewhat related, they are predominately sampling different classes of behavior. Deficits in FOO and FOS correlated significantly with several scales on the MMPI and with ratings done by therapists and peers. These deficits were related to increased amounts of psychopathology, such as depression, anxiety, and negative self-esteem. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
A primary goal of scale development is to create a valid measure of an underlying construct. We discuss theoretical principles, practical issues, and pragmatic decisions to help developers maximize the construct validity of scales and subscales. First, it is essential to begin with a clear conceptualization of the target construct. Moreover, the content of the initial item pool should be overinclusive and item wording needs careful attention. Next, the item pool should be tested, along with variables that assess closely related constructs, on a heterogeneous sample representing the entire range of the target population. Finally, in selecting scale items, the goal is unidimensionality rather than internal consistency; this means that virtually all interitem correlations should be moderate in magnitude. Factor analysis can play a crucial role in ensuring the unidimensionality and discriminant validity of scales. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The potential association of various sleep disturbances to suicidal thoughts and behaviors is the subject of several reviews. The current meta-analysis was conducted to estimate the size of the association generally as well as between more specific relationships. Electronic databases for years 1966-2011 were searched to identify candidate studies using PubMed search terms suicide and sleep or sleep initiation/maintenance disorders or dreams or nightmares or sleep disorders/psychology or sleep disorders/epidemiology as well as Ovid search terms suicide and sleep or insomnia or nightmares. The search was supplemented by cross-referencing from identified articles and reviews. Original studies reporting both sleep disturbance and suicide outcomes were identified with 39 of 98 studies (40%) comprising 147,753 subjects selected for inclusion. Data were extracted by multiple independent observers and verified by a study author. The meta-analysis was performed using random-effects models. The size of associations was calculated for all types of sleep disturbances and suicide outcomes combined and for more specific categories including nightmares, insomnia, and insomnia subtypes and suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and suicide. Moderator effects were evaluated. Overall, sleep disturbance was significantly associated with an increased relative risk for suicidal ideation, suicide attempt, and suicide ranging from 1.95 (95% CI, 1.41-2.69) to a relative risk of 2.95 (95% CI, 2.48-3.50) in unadjusted studies. Associations were smaller, but remained highly significant among adjusted studies. Depression did not moderate the association between sleep and suicide variables. This meta-analysis supports an association between sleep disturbance and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Sleep disturbances in general, as well as insomnia and nightmares individually, appear to represent a risk factor for suicidal thoughts and behavior. This proposition is further bolstered by the result that depression did not show risk moderation.
Article
Rumination is related to depression as well as to anxiety and anger. However, since these negative emotions are interrelated, it is not known whether rumination is independently related to each of these emotions. Previous studies have suggested an association between rumination and poor sleep quality or sleep disturbances, and between negative emotions and sleep disturbances. However, since rumination and negative emotions are linked, it is difficult to know if both negative emotions and rumination are associated with sleep quality. The purposes of this study were to investigate how rumination is related to different negative moods and whether rumination and negative mood may be independently associated with subjective sleep quality at a non-clinical level. Subjects were 126 students, who completed questionnaires measuring rumination, mood and sleep quality. The results showed that rumination was independently associated with angry and depressive mood. There were significant associations between rumination, negative mood and subjective sleep quality. Rumination was found to be significantly associated with subjective sleep quality even after controlling for negative mood.
Article
Data are reported on the background and performance of the K6 screening scale for serious mental illness (SMI) in the World Health Organization (WHO) World Mental Health (WMH) surveys. The K6 is a six-item scale developed to provide a brief valid screen for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th edition (DSM-IV) SMI based on the criteria in the US ADAMHA Reorganization Act. Although methodological studies have documented good K6 validity in a number of countries, optimal scoring rules have never been proposed. Such rules are presented here based on analysis of K6 data in nationally or regionally representative WMH surveys in 14 countries (combined N = 41,770 respondents). Twelve-month prevalence of DSM-IV SMI was assessed with the fully-structured WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Nested logistic regression analysis was used to generate estimates of the predicted probability of SMI for each respondent from K6 scores, taking into consideration the possibility of variable concordance as a function of respondent age, gender, education, and country. Concordance, assessed by calculating the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, was generally substantial (median 0.83; range 0.76-0.89; inter-quartile range 0.81-0.85). Based on this result, optimal scaling rules are presented for use by investigators working with the K6 scale in the countries studied.